Nate Marquardt will be getting into the cage for England's BAMMA. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Embattled world-ranked middleweight Nate Marquardt has agreed to a multi-fight contract with the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, the promotion announced on Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Marquardt, 32, was released by the UFC in June after he withdrew from UFC Live 4 on the eve of his scheduled main event with Rick Story at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. It was later revealed that a New Jersey State Athletic Control Board test showed elevated levels of testosterone in Marquardt’s system prior to his UFC 128 bout against Dan Miller in March. He attributed the test results to hormone replacement therapy but failed to follow proper protocol for such measures with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission, which immediately suspended him. That penalty has since been lifted.
“As soon as we received word that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission lifted Marquardt’s suspension, we jumped at the chance to sign him,” BAMMA Vice President Liam Fisher said in a release. “He is a top-ranked contender and an asset to any promotion. Words cannot express how excited we are that Marquardt is now fighting under the BAMMA banner.”
BAMMA also recently took steps to introduce mandatory performance-enhancing drug tests for title fights, as well as random pre- and post-event testing. According to Marquardt, who tested positive for suspected steroid use in 2005, it was one of the key selling points.
“Offers came in from several fight promotions, but we felt that BAMMA was definitely the best fit,” he said. “They put on high-quality shows, stack their cards with top-level fighters and sign those fighters to multi-fight deals. They are also the only fight organization in the UK that implements PED testing. To be honest, that is one of the main reasons that we chose BAMMA. I want to prove to my fans and to the world that I’m the real deal and that I belong on top.”
During a six-year stay with the UFC, Marquardt emerged as one of the world’s premier fighters at 185 pounds. He parlayed a four-fight winning streak into a crack at middleweight king Anderson Silva at UFC 73 in July 2007, losing by first-round technical knockout. Prior to his release, Marquardt compiled a 10-4 mark inside the Octagon, including wins over Martin Kampmann, Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia and leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares.
“Now that my suspension has been lifted and I’ve found a home with a new fight promotion, I can move forward and turn my focus back to my fight career,” Marquardt said. “This has been an extremely difficult time, and I’m very thankful to those who stood by me.”
Marquardt (31-10-2) aims to proceed with his plan to cut to 170 pounds.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to fighting, and there are some guys out there that I would definitely like to get my hands on,” he said. “I’m talking about the fighters that kicked me while I was down. BAMMA is known for signing top talent, so I may just get my chance.”